Question: I bought a brand-new mobile phone from an online store. It’s developed some problems. Does warranty/guarantee apply to items bought online?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that a supplier (online store) of a mobile phone to you holds a relevant valid license issued by the concerned authorities in the UAE, to conduct its business. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. 5 on Consumer Protection are applicable.
In the UAE, the provisions of the UAE Consumer Protection Law apply to online sales of products and services. This is in accordance with Article 3 of the UAE Consumer Protection Law, which states, “The provisions of this Law shall apply to all goods and services within the state, including free zones, and operations related thereto and carried out by the supplier, the advertiser, or the commercial agent, as well as those carried out by means of electronic commerce if the supplier is registered inside the state, without prejudice to international treaties and agreements to which the State is a party.”
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A supplier must implement a warranty on the products sold by it. This is in accordance with Article 10 of the UAE Consumer Protection Law, which states,
“1- The supplier shall implement all warranties, provide the required spare parts and maintenance, replace the good, or refund its monetary value, and commit to after-sales service as regards the sold goods, within the specified time limit.
2- The supplier shall guarantee the service he provides and that it is free from defects and malfunctions within a period of time commensurate with the nature of that service, otherwise he shall return the amount paid by the consumer or a part thereof, or he shall re-perform the Service properly.
3- The implementing regulation of this law shall determine the controls for implementing the provisions of this article.”
Furthermore, in the event of a malfunction of a product sold by a supplier, it is the responsibility of such supplier to rectify the malfunctioning of the product or replace it or refund the price to a consumer. This is in accordance with Article 12 of the UAE Consumer Protection Law, which states, “In the event that a malfunction is found in the good or service, the supplier shall repair or replace the same, return the good and refund its price, or re-perform the service without charge, in accordance with what is specified by the Implementing Regulation of this Law.”
A supplier needs to provide clear information about electronic products which it sells through online portals to its consumers. This is in line with Article 25(1) of the UAE Consumer Protection Law, which states, “Suppliers registered in the state and who work in the field of electronic commerce shall provide consumers and the competent authorities in the state with their names, legal status, addresses and licensing bodies, as well as adequate information in Arabic about the product or service provided, its specifications, and the terms of contract, payment, and warranty, in accordance with what is specified by the Implementing Regulation of this Law. “
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, if the mobile phone you have purchased from a supplier is malfunctioning you may contact the supplier and call upon it to rectify the malfunction or replace the same with a new one. In the event, the supplier does not rectify the malfunctioning of your mobile or does not replace the same with the new mobile then you may consider filing a complaint against the supplier with the relevant local authority in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 22(5) of the UAE Consumer Protection Law, which states, “The Ministry (Ministry of Economy) shall supervise the implementation of the general policy for Consumer protection in cooperation with the Competent Authorities, and in particular the following:
– Receiving consumer complaints and the Consumer Protection Association and taking the necessary measures in their regard or referring them to the competent authorities.”
For further clarifications related to this matter, you may contact the Ministry of Economy or the relevant local authority in the respective emirate where you are a resident.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: [email protected] or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.